This is kind of a downer topic, but I’ll put myself out there first, in case anyone wants to relate.
When I was a kid, I was extremely intelligent. This was pretty much my ONLY source of self-esteem, too. I was goofy looking, came from a low income, really messed up family, had poor social skills and rarely a friend, etc. But I was smart as **** and always a teacher’s pet. I was tested for IQ in 6th grade and scored very high, and was placed in all advanced classes going into middle school. I can remember being able to learn things very rapidly, having great memory and self-teach all the materials.
But it seems that starting with my first major episode my freshmen year of high school, every time I have an episode, it’s like I lose some of my intelligence. I have read some things about how psychotic episodes can actually damage the brain, so it makes me wonder if that’s what it is.
I would like to be able to blame it on big pharma (if I’m being honest), but the truth is that I’ve been unmedicated for the vast majority of my life, including in adulthood.
By this point in my life (late 20s) I can definitely tell that my mind is a shadow of its former self. My memory often sucks. It takes me longer to learn simpler things. Just trying to keep up while learning my last job, working in a convenience store, was challenging when combined with the stress. I’m no longer fast and sharp in conversations with other people, either.
I used to be pretty good at debating, very articulate and able to think and respond rapidly, and this allowed me to dive into some really riveting and interesting debates with others about history, politics, philosophy, etc. Now I find it takes real effort just to have normal conversations most of the time.
I know that part of it is probably a cerebral narcissism streak, but I find this aspect of whatever I have to be the worst and most depressing. When my last pdoc put me on olanzapine and I noticed another drop in my cognitive functioning, it just gave me this KILLMENOW feeling. Just really sucks.
Anyone else noticed loss of mental performance due to episodes over the years? Sometimes it gives me hypochondria about having a brain tumor or like Alzheimer’s in my twenties.